Soil samples collected from Syria and sent to France for testing confirm that sarin gas was used on multiple occasions, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.
“[The laboratory tests] prove the presence of sarin in the samples in our possession,” Mr. Fabius said, as reported by The Associated Press. France “now is certain that sarin gas was used in Syria multiple times and in a localized way.”
The minister also warned, “It would be unacceptable that those guilty of these crimes benefit from impunity,” AP reported.
The test results came on the heels of a Tuesday report from the United Nations that said there were “reasonable grounds” to think chemical warfare was used in least four different attacks in Syria. But the United Nations concluded that more testing was needed to determine what chemical agents were involved, AP reported. And the U.N. Commission of Inquiry has asked that Damascus let in a team of testers to take samples for themselves at the exact sites of certain attacks.
President Obama has stated on previous occasions that confirmation of chemical warfare in Syria would represent the “red line” for greater American involvement. He’s since backed off that statement a bit, declaring that the “red line” actions were never defined as troops on the ground or arms for rebel fighters. But pressure for more U.S. involvement continues to mount, and at least one U.S. senator — Sen. John Mccain, who just returned from a secret visit with Syrians — is pushing hard for the White House to up its role.